W&M in Washington is an academic program housed in the W&M Washington Office. The program is open to students in all majors and disciplines, and financial assistance is available. It is staffed by a Program Director and a Program Manager, as well as one W&M professor in Washington appointed on a semester basis by the Dean of Arts & Sciences. The Program is also supported by the staff of the W&M Washington Office and Washington area alumni, operating during the fall and spring semesters of the academic year.
The Program offers an academically rigorous curriculum built around a semester-by-semester topic, with internships matched to that topic. Students in the Program gain tremendous insight into their field of study and have an incredible opportunity to learn from experts, executives, elected officials, and policy-makers. From the arts to international relations, and everything in between, the varying semester topics allow students with all areas of interest to participate during a semester that appeals to them.
- Students receive 6-8 credits for their course work and an additional 6 credits for the academic work they complete in association with their internship.
- Classes are taught by W&M Professors
- Classes are held at the W&M Washington Office in Dupont Circle
- Students spend 30-35 hours per week at their internships
- Mission of the internship locations will sync with the semester's theme
- Reinforces lessons learned in the classroom with real world experience
- Students live in group apartments in The Buchanan
- Located only 3 metro stops outside of the city in Arlington, VA
- Safe and secure housing complex, complete with fitness center and large common rooms
Students enjoy the benefits of a large metropolitan city and the attention of a small community. Through events organized by Program administrators, W&M in Washington students have an array of possibilities before them. With opportunities like kayaking on the Potomac, insider’s tours of DC hot spots, and networking with alums, students will experience dynamic DC at its best. W&M in Washington provides the same quality of support to students in DC as campus provides to students in Williamsburg.
The W&M in Washington Program has its earliest origins in the one credit "Washington Program" started in the late 1980s and run by the Thomas Jefferson Public Policy Program in the mid 1990s. Each semester, the competitive program would bring undergraduate and graduate students to Washington for three or four days to learn about a different issue in public policy.
The establishment of a Washington Office in 2001 led to more serious consideration of a full time semester program, with the office serving as a base for launching the new venture. In 2001, the Washington Office produced a survey of four existing programs in Washington to inform W&M administrators on the critical elements of successful programs. Detailed plans for W&M in Washington were approved in Fall 2005, allowing for the establishment of a permanent, full time program for the Fall 2006 semester.
A "great" educational institution helps expose its students to a wide variety of experiences in a rigorous and structured way. Two of the goals of a William & Mary 2010 Initiative sought to: "emphasize the practical aspects of learning and knowledge by increasing opportunities for internships in business, social services, government, and other ‘real life' laboratories," and "provide an off-campus experience for each undergraduate to contribute the insight and understanding needed for leadership in the new global environment."
- To offer a challenging, interactive academic program appropriate for qualified students.
- To encourage practical learning in "real life" settings.
- To provide a well-managed, mutually beneficial internship experience.
- To let students sample the intellectual and cultural diversity of our nation's capital.